Shaving Dried Bonito

Today’s posting is not about walking and biking but about gourmet.  Japanese dashi soup which is rich in flavor can be made by adding shaved dried bonito.  But what is bonito?  It looks like this – it’s a fish.

Dried Bonito in a Package

Dried Bonito

This is about 30 cm long and it costs about 2,000 yen.  By using a special plane, you shave this and will have shavings which can be put into the boiled water and then you will have delicious Japanese soup.

Today in Japan, every supermarket has packages of shaved bonito and you don’t have to plane by yourself.  But when I was a kid, I remember we had a plane at home and we often used it.  Actually, it is far more delicious if you make dashi soup by bonito shaved just before using it.

I happened to find a drysaltery called “Ukai” in Hongo.  Their main products are dried bonito.  In front of the shop, they spread the saved bonito in order to fully dry them.  When I found this shop, I felt like buying a plane to shave the bonito.

Nowadays, not so many people shave the bonito at home.  Therefore, it may not be so easy to find a plane.  But in such a case, go to Kappabashi near Asakusa which is known as a “kitchen tools town”.  You will find any kind of kitchen tools.

In order to get to Kappabashi, take Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and go to Tawara-machi Station.  If you walk Asakusa Dori Avenue towards Ueno (opposite to Asakusa), you will come across the entrance of Kappabashi Street where a big statue of Mr. Niimi is waiting for you.  Niimi is one of the main shops in this street where kitchen tools, kitchen wares, dishes and plates are sold.


In this Kitchen Tools Town, I visited a confectionery tools shop called Noguchi.  They have a wide range of tools to make confectionery and many other kinds of dishes.  And at the very front of the shop, I found a plane.

There are several kinds of planes but I heard it was better to avoid very cheap ones because edges of such planes are not good.  I bought one which costs about 8,000 yen.  If you buy this type, the shopowner said that I did not have to sharpen the edge for about at least 10 years.

After I got home, I tried to shave the bonito.  There are several tips and I had to learn from YouTube first.  But after I learned how to do it, it was not so difficult and I could get lots of shaved bonito.

The miso soup made from newly shaved bonito was incredibly delicious.  The taste was quite different from the soup made of already shaved and packaged bonito you bought at a supermarket.

For More Information on Kappabashi

Address of Kitchen Tools Town: 18-2 Matsugaya 3-chome, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Website of Kitchen Tools Town


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